Mon | May 27, 2024

Ex-soldier in Portmore police shoot-out not criminally responsible due to mental condition, judge rules

Published:Wednesday | April 24, 2024 | 11:44 AM
File photo.

Ex-soldier Dane Johnson, who was charged for engaging the police in a shoot-out in Cumberland, Portmore, St Catherine, was on Tuesday found not legally responsible for his actions due to his mental condition at the time.

A decision on the next step is to be made in June.

Johnson is charged with shooting with intent, wounding with intent, illegal possession of firearm, and illegal possession of ammunition.

Johnson is being represented by attorneys-at-law Peter Champagnie KC and Samoi Campbell.

The court heard that on November 2, 2021, the police received calls about a man firing shots at his neighbours in Cumberland Meadows in Portmore.

When the police arrived, Johnson fired at them and a policeman was wounded.

Johnson locked himself inside his house and refused to comply with police orders to surrender. 

He subsequently surrendered after his wife came on the scene and spoke to him.

Johnson was wounded during the incident and was hospitalised.

The allegations were not challenged by the defence.

At the trial in the Home Circuit Court, the defence led evidence from five psychologists that at the time of the incident Johnson was suffering from schizophrenia that causes hallucinations and delusions.

The court was told that he was diagnosed in 2017 with the condition.

His wife also gave evidence that on the day in question, he was acting unusual, and when she saw him after the incident he looked “spaced out” and was not responding to her.

One of the cops who were involved in the shoot-out said that when he called out to Johnson to cease firing he responded by signing a gospel song that was not known to him.

Champagnie and Campbell argued that based on Johnson's mental condition at the time a special verdict should be entered which would mean he is not by law responsible for the offences.

The trial judge Justice Ann Marie Grainger, after hearing the evidence, entered the special verdict on all counts.

The case will again be heard on June 7 at which time the judge will render a sentencing decision. 

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